Apparent Cyberattack Disrupts Unemployment Benefits in Multiple States ::


– An apparent cyberattack this week on Florida-based IT provider Geographic Solutions has disrupted unemployment and unemployment benefits for thousands of people in several states and Washington, DC.

Unemployment payments for people in Tennessee, where about 12,000 people depend on the program, and Nebraska are being delayed, according to state employment agencies. In Washington, the blackout has prevented residents from submitting new applications for paid family leave and searching for jobs using a tool provided by Geographic Solutions.

In a statement, Geographic Solutions described “anomalous activity” on its computer network but did not specify the cause; The Nebraska Department of Labor called it a “cyber attack.”

Upon discovering the activity, Geographic Solutions “immediately took some systems offline to halt the activity,” the statement said.

“With the help of external specialists, we are conducting a comprehensive investigation to determine the cause and scope of the incident,” Geographic Solutions said. “This investigation is ongoing and we are taking steps to prevent this from happening again. Our current focus is on taking care of our customers and working 24/7 to recover all systems.”

Geographic Solutions did not respond to emailed questions about whether ransomware was involved in the incident and how quickly it is expected to recover. According to the company’s Facebook page, it has sold human resources software products to state and local governments in more than 30 US states and territories. The company’s website was unavailable Friday night.

The incident comes as the Federal Reserve has sought to stem historically high inflation by raising interest rates, a move some analysts predict could trigger a recession next year.

CNN has reached out to the US Department of Labor for comment on the apparent cyberattack disrupting Geographic Solutions.

As of Friday night, Nebraska’s state unemployment benefit system was still offline, Nebraska Department of Labor spokeswoman Grace Johnson told CNN. “The provider is actively working to bring the system back online,” Johnson said.

The incident highlights how a disruption at a single software vendor can have nationwide ramifications.

US officials have repeatedly warned of possible attacks by cybercriminals on long holiday weekends, when IT teams are sometimes out of the office.

A year ago, a ransomware attack on another Florida-based IT vendor, Kaseya, infected up to 1,500 businesses around the world.

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